Cancun with a toddler?
December 2, 2010 5:29 AM   Subscribe

Next year, I'm traveling to Cancun, Mexico with my wife and our two-year-old. We plan to stay in late March for four or so days. Where should we stay? What should we do?

As for the hotel, something nice-but-cheapish, nothing five-star, but not a backpacker hostel, either. As for what to do...well, we have a two-year-old, so we're not planning on hiking through any Mayan ruins or scuba diving or anything (damn kid). Just a relaxing time on the beach, essentially.

So because of that, I expect we'll spend a lot of time at the resort/on the beach, and limited trips around the hotel, so a nice, clean, interesting place is what we want.

Directly on the beach would of course be ideal, but a quick walk to the beach would be ok, too. Hopefully one that won't break the bank, say well under $200US a night.
posted by zardoz to Travel & Transportation around Cancun, Mexico (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Once you fly into Cancun; get out of Cancun... Take an ADO Bus (60 Passenger - Air Conditioned Bus for $100 pesos (or $8 US) south to Playa Del Carmen... Stay in Luna Blue Hotel (just $45 a night if you go in September low season; about $175 otherwise) it's 40 feet away from 'Calle 5' which is a touristy strip for about 3 miles north and 3 miles south of the hotel; see Trip Advisor for hotel's rating...

Beach is just blocks away and Luna Blue has deals with the local beach resorts where you will be able to get free chairs/towels without having to stay in a resort ... Owners of Luna Blue are originally from California... Free Wifi as well ...
posted by MrBCID at 5:59 AM on December 2, 2010

Actually rates for Luna Blue are much cheaper than previously stated
posted by MrBCID at 6:03 AM on December 2, 2010

Best answer: Take the ferry from Cancun and stay on Isla Mujeres. There are apartments and condos on both ends of the island (the North end is beachier and walking distance to restaurants and the grocery store) so you can have a little kitchen, which I think would make traveling with a toddler a lot easier.

Playa del Carmen is also nice, but I really like the island for its very chill vibe. I don't know if the forums are still as active as they used to be, but they were a huge source of information about the area.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:16 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Just looked at the Luna Blue kids under 14. I went to Tulum 6 years ago and it is a lot nicer than Cancun (I prefer a less "Americanized" Mexico). It is about an hours drive south of Cancun. I can't recall where I stayed but the ruins and the Sian Kaan were really great.
posted by murrey at 6:18 AM on December 2, 2010

We stayed (sans toddler) a few years ago at this place under the previous owners. It's on a small island just off Cancun. It's quiet, small, has a private beach that leads to a tidal lagoon which would be great for a toddler. The water there is very calm, very shallow, lots of tropical fish. There was no pool when we were there. There used to be a 'serve yourself' kitchen next to the office. There were plenty of families with young kids staying when we were there.

If you go, you would fly in to Cancun, get a taxi direct to the ferry terminal, take the short ferry ride (very cool for a toddler I would think), and a short taxi ride at the other end to the hotel.
posted by carter at 6:28 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

And the island is called Isla Mujeres! - See Lyn Never's recommendation as well. You'd have to walk everywhere, so bring a stroller. But nothing is more than about 15-20 minutes walk.
posted by carter at 6:30 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing Isla Mujeres. I don't remember our hotel, but it was on the beach, clean, unfancy but nice. With a toddler though I can see how it'd be nice to have a kitchen. Everything was an easy walk from the ferry .
posted by ldthomps at 7:03 AM on December 2, 2010

One more vote for Isla Mujeres. It might be my favorite place on the planet.
posted by COBRA! at 7:08 AM on December 2, 2010

Thirding checking the options Isla Mujeres... wife and I stayed in Cancun (this was several years ago) in one of the big beach motels because it was part of a package deal we got as a prize, and we agreed if we went back we'd want to stay there: Cancun proper and especially the big beachside hotel part had a lot of generic American vacation + drunken frat-type culture going on, Isla Mujeres had a lot more multicultural/Europeans enjoying the off season vibe going on. Things seemed generally cheaper, quieter, less "swim with the dolphins for a time share pitch" going on. Did see a certain amount of seemingly random toplessness on the beach there but I imagine that's not an issue with a 2 year old (not that it has to be an issue with anyone). It's easy to ferry back to Cancun proper and take the bus around.
posted by nanojath at 7:10 AM on December 2, 2010

On preview, apparently fifthing Isla Mujeries, rather.
posted by nanojath at 7:11 AM on December 2, 2010

another vote for isla mujeres, at least for a day trip.
been to cancun a few times, always stay at the beautiful jw marriott.
posted by sabh at 7:27 AM on December 2, 2010

As everyone is stating above... Cancun + Family Vacation do not generally mix. If not Isla Mujeres or Playa Del Carmen you could consider heading west a couple hours toward Merida and the Progreso area where things are insanely cheap. You could rent a beach front house for $500 a week. It's a bit of a hike though, so it may be too far for you to travel for just four days. If you haven't already bought your airfare you may want to just take a cursory glance at flying into Merida instead.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:32 AM on December 2, 2010

What about Rivera Maya? We're in the same boat as you with our child's age, budget, and time of year. We were thinking Iberostar resort since then we can be active on the grounds, walk outside to the beach or choose the pool. Two of the resorts interlink with each other so you can have double the choices in restaurants. They said the grounds take 20 minutes to walk so to me, that's something to do on the grounds without wondering where to go. We plan on busing it to Tulum for the ruins. Supposedly there are monkeys and peacoks too on the property and my son loves monkeys. Yes it's all inclusive and we're trying to estimate if it's really worth it but the concept sounds good.
posted by stormpooper at 7:49 AM on December 2, 2010

millionthing isla mujeres. its paradise :)
posted by supermedusa at 8:09 AM on December 2, 2010

While I think all-inclusives make sense in most places when you have kids, not so in playa del carmen. It's a rare vacation place that restaurants, hotels and the beach are all appealing and with in walking distance. There's lots of good food choices, inexpensive and close. Also- appealing to me (as a mom) the very long strip of places to eat, stay and shop are on a road with no cars allowed.
I love la tortuga for the staff, location and niceness of the hotel (breakfast is also included at a nice little adjacent restaurant).
The only thing is you may not want to stay right on 5th ave. Just double check that no clubs or restaurants are next door (I love posada Freud since since it's a GREAT value but it's next door to a LOUD restaurant).
posted by beccaj at 8:23 AM on December 2, 2010

another recommendation for Isla Mujeres! you can arrange a ride from the airport to the ferry online, the island is amazing, lots to do - turtle sanctuary! snorkelling! forget cancun and go to the island
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:59 PM on December 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Looks like Isla Mujeres wins, I'm researching it right now. Seems fairly straightforward to get there from the airport. Gracias.
posted by zardoz at 10:42 PM on December 2, 2010

We did Tulum with a bunch of couples and toddlers and it was awesome...
posted by k8t at 6:17 PM on December 4, 2010

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